In Christ Jesus, we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), and that’s all that really matters.
Christianity is not primarily about being religious, that is, about attending church services, dressing a certain way, performing certain rituals, lighting candles, repeating certain phrases. It’s about being a new creation. It’s about finding your self remade by and in Christ.
When the Apostle Paul wrote Galatians, a letter to the church in Galatia, he confronted this very idea of inflating Christianity with extra “stuff” to make it look more religious. In particular, some misleading teachers had visited the church in Galatia and had tried to convince them they needed to be circumcised.
Circumcision was a sign of one’s commitment and conversion to the Old Covenant community. It was an outward sign of an inner reality, just like wearing a Red Sox hat is an outward sign of my inner commitment to the Red Sox. The problem is that just wearing the sign does not make the inward commitment or conversion real. An outward sign cannot change your heart. Slapping a Red Sox hat on a Yankee fan does not make that person a Red Sox fan.
In the same way, religion that focuses on outward signs misses the importance of inner conversion and is incapable of producing it. Only Jesus can create new life in someone. Religious activities can’t do it. Circumcision can’t change a person’s heart. Rituals can’t make someone new from the inside out. Church attendance can’t do it. Lighting candles can’t make a new you. Only Jesus can make you a new creation. And that’s all that matters. After all, I don’t want to look like a better person, I want to be a better person. Only Jesus can produce that in me.
So as you look around at all the new creations of springtime, consider your own self. Are you a new creation? Do you see new life in your own heart? Have you ever asked Jesus to make you new, to give you life? If not, you can become a new creation today simply by asking Jesus to make it so. Jesus can do it. Look no further.